Buying Guide - Coils

Coils are where many new vapers can find themselves mired in jargon. Trying to figure out what kind of resistance coils you need, understanding ohms is essential, but if you’re wondering where to begin, our buying guide is here to help you. Get the rundown on what coils are, how they work and which ones will match your style of vaping.

What are vape coils?

Vaping devices use coils to vaporise e-liquids, they are small metal cylinders that sit inside your pod or tank and contain cotton and a heating element that will vaporise your e-liquid when your vape kit is activated. Coils come in many shapes, sizes and various resistances.

Photo showing DTL and MTL vape coils

How do vape coils work?

Once installed, a coil connects to the power contacts in your vape kit. Within the coil is a cotton lining, which will absorb your e-liquid in a process known as wicking. The cotton wraps around a heating element made of metal mesh or a cylindrical coil. When your device is activated it sends power (measured in wattage) into your coil, heating the element which then vaporises the e-liquid in the soaked cotton.

As you inhale, air flows through the centre chimney of the coil, picking up the vapour as it goes. Coils usually last between 1 to 2 weeks, before they need to be replaced and generally form the only disposable part of refillable and rechargeable vape kits.

Photo showing a deconstructed vape coil

What is coil resistance?

Coils are built to resist some of the power put out by your vape kit so that when you fire your vape device, the coil will produce a specified amount of vapour. The level of coil resistance will affect your style of vaping and dictate the type of e-liquid you can use. Coil resistance is measured in Ohms (Ω), and plays a big role in how hot your vape gets and how much vapour it puts out. So, nailing the right resistance for your vape kit and e-juice is key.

There is a wide range of coil resistances available to cater to different styles of vaping, you can find the resistance displayed on the packaging and the coil itself. The higher the number of Ohms, e.g. 1.2ohms, the greater the resistance, meaning less power will be used to vaporise the e-liquid. Coils with a higher resistance operate at a lower temperature and use thinner e-liquids. They also have a narrower central chimney, which creates a more restricted airflow that suits a style of vaping known as MTL (Mouth to Lung) - perfect for those looking to quit smoking.

Coils with a lower resistance e.g. 0.4ohms, also known as sub-ohm coils, allow for more power and heat. They operate at higher temperatures and use thicker high VG e-liquids to produce bigger clouds of vapour. Sub-ohm coils have a much wider bore to provide a super airy vape and are typically used in the more recreational DTL (Direct to Lung) method of vaping that favours big clouds of vapour. There is some overlap with modern pod devices which incorporate a style known as RDL (Restricted Direct to Lung).

Coils and Vaping Styles

There are three types of vaping styles, MTL, DTL and RDL.

Image showing an MTL inhale
  • MTL (Mouth to Lung) 1.5ohm to 0.9ohm.
  • Inhale into mouth then into lungs.
  • Replicates a cigarette draw.
  • Discreet, best for those looking to quit smoking.
Image showing an RDL inhale
  • RDL (Restricted Direct Lung) 0.8ohm to 0.6ohm.
  • Tight inhale directly into the lungs.
  • More vapour than MTL, less than DTL.
  • Best of both worlds, May be too airy for some.
Image showing a DTL inhale
  • DTL (Direct to Lung) 0.5ohm to 0.15ohm.
  • A large, direct continuous inhale into the lungs.
  • Deep breath, Produces big clouds.
  • Recreational cloud chasing.
  • Not suitable for those wishing to switch from smoking.

Read our Vape Kits Buying Guide and E-Liquids Buying Guide for to find our which kits and juices will work for you.

Coil Resistance




Increased Vapour

Less Vapour














What is a mesh coil?

A mesh coil is a sieve-like heating element made of steel wire in a grid shape that wraps around the inside of the coil. Traditionally vape coils were made of a coiled metal wire that curled upwards in a spring shape, hence the name. Mesh coils were developed to increase the surface area exposed to e-liquid. The larger surface area of a mesh coil heats more evenly and efficiently, vaporising more e-liquid per draw which results in a more flavourful vape.

Mesh Coil Benefits

  • Great flavour production

  • Quick, even heating

  • Longer lifespan

Mesh coils were initially developed for DTL (direct-to-lung) vaping, but have since been adopted by MTL (mouth-to-lung) vape kits as well.

What's the difference between mesh coils and standard coils?

The main differences between mesh coils and traditional wire coils are in their structure and the heating surface area they provide. Traditional wire coils, fashioned from a single strand of wire offer a smaller heating surface area, which can lead to hot spots and uneven heating. They can however be made much smaller than mesh coils and are great for tiny closed-pod MTL systems that don’t require much heat.

The flat perforated design of mesh coils creates a wider surface area that heats e-liquid evenly and rapidly, increasing the lifespan of the coil and yielding better vapour production and improved flavour.

Traditional Wire Coils
Mesh Coils

Structure and Material

Single strand wire

Flat perforated mesh

Heating Surface Area


Larger and even

Heat Distribution

Concentrated, hot spots

Even heat distribution

Vapour Production


Larger clouds of vapour



Enhanced and rich flavour

Durability and Longevity

May gunk up, shorter lifespan

Resistant to gunk, longer lifespan


Widely compatible

Which coils are best for smokers?

Higher resistance coils that operate at lower power, in the 1.0ohm to 1.5ohm range, are best for new starters looking to make the switch from smoking. They provide a tight draw that will feel familiar and produce a discrete amount of vapour that will mimic the sensation of smoking.

What does sub-ohm vaping mean in 2023?

Sub-ohm vaping refers to any coil that sits below 1.0ohm resistance and used to be synonymous with only the DTL method of vaping. As vaping has progressed, sub-ohm coils in the higher resistance range of 0 7ohm to 0.9ohm have become popular in MTL pod kits. These types of coils provide a warm and airy mouth to lung vape or employ the RDL (restricted direct lung) sttyle of vaping.

Glossary of terms

Mesh - Thin, flat steel heating element of a coil, shaped in a grid pattern.

Ohms (Ω) - The measurement of resistance to electrical current, e.g. 1.2ohms (Ω)

Resistance - The opposition to the flow of electrical current.

Push to fit - Coils that are fitted by pushing them into a pod or tank

Screw-in - Coils that are fitted by screwing them into the base of a pod or tank. Think lightbulb.

Wattage - The measure of power or electrical current as supplied by a vape kit battery.

Getting Started

How to prime a vape coil.

Before you start vaping you need to make sure that your coil is properly saturated with e-liquid, so as not to burn the cotton and ruin your coil. If the coil is separate from the pod or tank, you can add a few drops of e-liquid to the exposed cotton, this is known as priming. With fixed coil pods you can simply fill up your pod and wait for 5 minutes before vaping.

Photo showing how to prime a vape coil

How to prevent dry hits.

A dry hit occurs when the cotton is not fully saturated with e-liquid and it burns slightly. While it may not cause permanent damage, a dry hit can impair the flavour of your e-liquid and shorten the lifespan of the coil. Make sure your e-liquid is topped up and take frequent breaks between draws. Chain vaping will cause your coil to become hot and may not leave enough time to absorb more e-liquid.

How often should I replace my vape coil?

Coil lifespan can vary based on your personal use, the type of e-liquid and the brand of coil. Typically a coil should last you between 1 to 2 weeks. If you notice a consistent burnt taste or a darkening of your e-liquid, it's time for a fresh one.


Any waste must be recycled responsibly at your nearest electrical waste recycling centre.

This includes:

  • Batteries
  • Pods and tanks
  • Coils

*Check out our clear and simple Beginners Vaping Guide and find out how to choose your first vape kit and e-liquid. contains general information about vaping and vapour products. The information provided is not medical advice, and should not be relied upon unless explicitly cited. We do not make any warranties surrounding the health benefits, reliability and accuracy of written copy across all pages on our website, including blog content and content posted on social media.

Medical Information Disclaimer

Related Guides

Coils Guides

Beginners Guide To Coils

Coils Guides

Guide To Mesh Coils VS Regular Coils

Coils Guides

Guide To Coil Prep And Care

Related Guides

Coils Guides

Beginners Guide To Coils

Coils Guides

Guide To Mesh Coils VS Regular Coils

Coils Guides

Guide To Coil Prep And Care